Meeker County Road 18 is too worn, thin for cold recycle

June 30, 2008

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Meeker County State Aid Highway 18, south of Dassel, is so worn, there isn’t enough bituminous on top to use a less expensive form of new road surface on it.

County commissioners heard a report Tuesday that the district materials engineer in Willmar, Art Bolland, advised against using the cold cycle process on CSAH 18. The board was hoping to use the process, in which the milled edges of a road are ground up and mixed into the bituminous, because it is less expensive than using fresh bituminous.

The county is taking bids to resurface CSAH 18 this summer. The road is in such poor condition, contractors hauling gravel for the CSAH 15 grading project, southeast of Dassel, will be restricted to 5-ton loads. CSAH 18 has eight locations in 7.6 miles that are breaking apart, especially the section of road south of Lake Jennie.

The last time CSAH 18 was resurfaced was in 1984, when it had 3.5 inches of bituminous put on it. That layer, from the start, was too thin for cold recycling for a 10-ton road, according to assistant county engineer, Mark Spies.

County commissioners then suggested mixing the milled edges of CSAH 18 into the gravel for the shoulders, and save taxpayers’ money on gravel. Spies said, however that if the county dictates what contractors do with the material, it will cost more, not less.

Having piles of milled edges alongside CSAH 18 is a safety issue during the increased traffic expected during the CSAH 15 project. The piles might prevent drainage in bad weather, Spies added.

Commissioner Wally Strand asked Spies if the alligator-hide effect on CSAH 18 was the result of water in the roadbed, and if putting tile in the roadbed would prevent further break-up of the surface.

Spies responded that the road is breaking up because it is 30 years old. However, if they find water problems, tiling the road bed will help.

County Administrator Paul Virnig had calculated June 17 a way to bond for $2.5 million for 15 years without having to levy taxpayers to pay back the bond. The bond will be repaid from funds from the gasoline tax, according to County Highway Engineer Ron Mortensen.

The commissioners decided June 17 to take bids for the project to see how much it will cost. They will have the option to reject all bids if the project is too expensive, Commissioner Ron Kutzke said.

Spies estimated the contractor who wins the bid won’t be able to start on CSAH 18 until mid-August.

In other highway business, the county awarded the federally-funded CSAH 15 grading project to Central Specialities of Alexandria for $1.8 million.

The contractor must start within 10 days of getting the contract, Spies said. Central Specialities has 90 work days to complete the project. If it doesn’t rain on those work days, the project will be complete by Oct. 31, Spies said.

In other business, the county delayed the bid opening to Tuesday, July 1 from June 24 for the courthouse boiler because a change was added to the specifications. Wold Architects and Engineers of St. Paul added a section about the cost of labor and material to provide control points for the system, Virnig said.

Virnig said the change will increase the estimated cost of the project to $130,000, from $80,000.

Do you know more about this subject, or have a comment? E-mail news@hjpub.com